It is winter in California, and outside
Is like the interior of a florist shop:
A chilled and moisture-laden crop
Of pink camellias lines the path; and what
The beauty of manhole covers--what of that?
Like medals struck by a great savage khan,
Like Mayan calendar stones, unliftable, indecipherable,
Not like the old electrum, chased and scored,
In the mid-city, under an oiled sky,
I lay in a garden of such dusky green
It seemed the dregs of the imagination.
Hedged round by elegant spears of iron fence
Save for a lusterless honing-stone of moon
The sky stretches its flawless canopy
Blue as the blue silk of the Jewish flag
Over the valley and out to sea.
Karl Shapiro attended the University of Virginia before World War II, and immortalized it in a scathing poem called "University," which noted that "to hate the Negro and avoid the Jew is the curriculum." He did not return after his military service.
Karl Shapiro wrote poetry in the Pacific Theater while he served there during World War II. His c ...